AUGUSTA, Ga. - The state of Georgia and its universities are well represented in the 2017 Masters, but the former Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets are not above a little in-state competition and pride.
“I’m not a young guy now, these kids are like 22 now that win every tournament,” said former Georgia Tech golfer Roberto Castro.
When asked when he started realizing that he wasn’t a young guy on tour anymore, Castro responded “Now” while adding a laugh.
Castro is only 31-years-old, but has some wisdom in his second trip to the Masters, and not because he graduated with high honors from Georgia Tech’s industrial engineering program.
“I wish it was that easy,” said Castro. “Engineering is simple compared to golf. It’s an art, not a science.”
Castro is also honing the science of the beautiful game. The Milton High School graduate is feeling prepared for his second chance at Augusta National Golf Club.
“I know what to make a big deal out of, and what to ignore. So I’m excited. It should be a good week,” said Castro. “Just keeping it simple, trying to focus on your game, and not worry about all of the peripheral stuff.”
As for the former University of Georgia players, they brought a little trash talk to the course for their friends in gold.
“We’re just trumping the bumblebees,” said former UGA golfer Hudson Swafford. “That’s all we are here to do.”
It’s Swafford’s first appearance at the Masters, and now he joins the ranks of the red and black who have played here in Augusta.
Just getting to the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club is an accomplishment, and it’s extra special for Dawgs, Jackets, and anyone who grew up in the long shadow of the famous Masters golf flags.
“This is like my Super Bowl, growing up in the southeast,” said Swafford. “From Tallahassee, going to the University of Georgia, I mean this is what every 4-year-old kid in the southeast makes putts on their home putting green, it’s for the Masters win.”
Other former UGA golfers in the field for the 2017 Masters are Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, and Kevin Kisner. Former Georgia Tech golfer Matt Kuchar is also in the field.